News of the Week: Finales, Flavored Beer, and Fast Food Friends

The Best and Worst Series Finales


We all want to see something different in the series finales of our favorite shows. Some of us want an answer to every single question that has been raised through the series; some people are okay with not everything being wrapped up in a bow, they just want satisfaction; and some people don’t even need any “big” endings, just a good episode.

A GitHub user tried to be more scientific about series finales and created these charts, which, if I’m reading the explanation correctly (and I’m not sure that I am), compares a show’s average episode rating on IMDb to its series finale rating. It’s a complex series of charts to go through, but the gist of it is everyone loved Breaking Bad’s finale and everyone hated Two and a Half Men’s finale. Also: What the heck is Spartacus: War of the Damned?

My opinion? The best series finales were for Newhart, Mad Men, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Burn Notice, The Fugitive, The West Wing, M*A*S*H, and Cheers. The worst finales included Seinfeld, How I Met Your Mother, Roseanne, and Lost. Oh, I could take up an entire column just talking about the problems I had with those.

It’s easy to forget that from the ’50s to the ’80s, pretty much all shows just simply ended without much fanfare, twists, or surprises, just with regular episodes.

Are You Ready for Cereal Beer?


A couple of years ago I tried blueberry beer. I didn’t think I’d like it (to put it mildly), but turns out it’s actually pretty darn good! The blueberries don’t overwhelm the beer as I feared and instead complement it, sort of like an orange slice goes well with Blue Moon or a lime with Corona. But are we ready for Count Chocula beer?

That’s one of the cereal flavors that General Mills is going to make. First they teamed with Fulton Beer in Minneapolis to make Wheaties beer, and now the cereal company is teaming with Colorado’s Black Bottle Beer to make Count Chocula beer. Black Bottle has also made beer using Reese’s Puffs, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Golden Grahams.

If they’re taking requests, I’d like a Quisp beer. Maybe it can be a White Ale-ian.

Kylo Ren Is Not a Sith

That’s a sentence that probably sounds like gibberish to many people. But if you’re a Star Wars fan, it’s big news!

Kylo Ren, the bad guy in the new sequel Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is not part of the Sith order that we saw in the other films (that’s what all the Darths were). That’s the word from director J.J. Abrams. Kylo Ren works for Supreme Leader Snoke, who is one of the important new people in command of the Dark Side of the Force and is played by Andy Serkis via performance-capture, the same way he portrayed Gollum in the Lord of the Rings movies.

We’ll have to wait until the movie’s release on December 18 to see what exactly this all means and how it ties into Luke, Leia, and Han Solo. My prediction? It’s going to be a popular film!

Will the McWhopper Bring World (Fast Food) Peace?


Can Burger King and McDonald’s just get along, even for one day?

Burger King has taken out full-page ads in both The New York Times and The Chicago Tribune asking the other fast-food giant to collaborate on the McWhopper, which would be a mix of McDonald’s Big Mac and Burger King’s Whopper. (Of course, there’s a website: And it’s all for charity. The burger would be sold for one day, September 21, to celebrate Peace Day, the United Nations declared day of ceasefire and nonviolence.

The response from McDonald’s? McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook posted this on Facebook, telling the King “we’ll be in touch.” And that they don’t really want to do this specifically, but maybe they could get together and do something bigger for charity. He also said that next time “a simple phone call will do.”

I think my favorite comment on the Facebook post is the guy who said that McDonald’s screwed up his order the other night.

Let’s All Go to Dismaland!

Am I supposed to hate Disneyland and Disney World? Because I don’t. But there seems to be more and more of a backlash against the theme parks in recent years. All that commercialism! All the gaudiness! All the forced happiness! All the … fun? I’ve never been, but hey, they look like fun places to me.

But famed, mysterious artist Banksy sees a dark side to the parks that is even darker than the one Kylo Ren is on. Take a look at this video for a place called Dismaland, located in Weston-super-Mare. It shows the “bemusement park” and the many sad, almost apocalyptic rides and venues the park has that will horrify your kids. I don’t get the Disney hate but you have to admit it’s a rather elaborate, ambitious piece of art.

Disney seems to be Banksy’s main target, though he also makes a statement in the park about both Sea World and even Sesame Street, as you can clearly see at around 1:06 in the video.

Is Reality TV Part of TV’s Golden Age?

Short answer? No. Long answer? No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. No matter what the president of WE TV Marc Juris says.

Tuesday Is National Gyros Day


I could point you to a recipe, but I’m more interested in how you read that sentence. Did you say JAI-ros or YEAR-os? Have we figured out what the proper pronunciation is?

I researched this thoroughly (by going to Google), and while there’s still a lot of argument about it, most seem to agree you pronounce it with the “Y” sound. But if you order it the other way, no one’s going to jell at you. (See what I did there?)

In unrelated holiday news, this past Wednesday was National Toilet Paper Day. I don’t even want to know how you celebrated it.

Upcoming Anniversaries and Events

Jack the Ripper’s first victim found (August 31, 1888)
This site has a complete timeline and background information on the murders that happened in Whitechapel district of London in 1888.

V-J Day (September 2, 1945)
Victory over Japan Day is celebrated on August 15 in the U.K. (the day the initial announcement was made) and on September 2 in the U.S. (the day the surrender document was signed).

First ATM opens (September 2, 1969)
The first automatic teller machine was installed at the Chemical Bank in Rockville Centre, New York.

On the Road published (September 5, 1957)
Jack Kerouac typed the original draft of the classic novel on one long roll of paper. He wrote it in three weeks.